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Old 02-21-2024, 04:11 PM   #1
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working on the build sheet, some questions for the group

Hello. Trying to get our build sheet finalized for the 21C. Just a few questions if the group doesn't mind.

First: the lift kit. My wife is 4' 11"....if I ordered the lift kit, would it be advisable to go ahead and then have the grab handle by the door lowered? I'm thinking probably yes.

Next, the walls around the dinette, kitchen side and fridge side. Are the existing walls of sufficient strength that one can lean against them comfortably when lounging or would it be advisable to have them reinforced? (I'm already having the walls by the bed and above the drawer stack reinforced so that I can add my own hideaway hooks and maybe a TV later).

Next, I'm toying with adding a passenger side rear hatch. This would primarily be used for storing a tabletop grill. Would there be enough room in there for the grill given that they also store the batteries and other electrical items in there? I'm toying with the idea of also adding the single solar panel on the roof and 2 6 volt batteries. This would be the standard dinette.

Finally, the extra window over the drawer stack. On the fence over this one....on the one hand it does let in more light and air, on the other if I placed a TV there it would just introduce glare. Thoughts? Have you not ordered the window and later wished you had? Given that the window faces "the neighbors" at most campgrounds I'm inclined to not get this windows, as we likely would have the blind drawn anyway....

OH, one more thing. If you get the standard 12v battery, are 2 vents still installed in the back for potential future expansion and does the battery box have room for two batteries?

Thank you much!
Craig
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Old 02-21-2024, 04:55 PM   #2
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No feedback re lift kit as we didn't order and in ten years have never regretted not having it even though 90% of our camping is boondocking and sometime over some rough terrain. Access to Oh Be Joyful CG outside of Crested Butte comes to mind

Walls-the plywood adds weight; I could see a wall at drawer stack, however for the wall between the bed and bathroom we just used command hooks to hang clothes there.
There was some question as to whether we needed plywood between dinette and stove wall to mount a flip up table and ETI just used some bracing. On the passenger side of the dinette the discussion never came up.

For the hatch- with the standard dinette the electronics will be in that area. You could instead put a hatch on the driver's side rear.

If you get the stock 2V battery- a Group 27 the box won't be big enough for two six volt batteries. If they still sell the 12V Group 29 then it will. We did that and it was a mistake as we needed more battery storage for the solar panel.

One more thing on battery box. Prior to 2015 in an Escape 21 the batteries were closest to the stove in the storage below the dinette bench. People have complained how difficult it is to reach them in the very back corner to check for electrolyte levels. Am very glad ours is in the original location- makes doing anything with batteries so much easier.

Don't miss that window over the drawer stack,
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by caheaton View Post
Hello. Trying to get our build sheet finalized for the 21C. Just a few questions if the group doesn't mind.
Hi, Craig. This is my feeble attempt to answer some of your build sheet questions….

Grab handle: Yes. We have a 21C with the lift kit and one of us is “height challenged” as well. A lower grab handle at the door would have been helpful. We manage okay without it, but if you can order it lowered (or two handles?) you should go with that. (Another option would be to have Escape not install a grab handle at all and follow good ol’ Centex’s mod of a longer chrome handle. I’m very jealous of this brilliant mod. It would take a little work, but if you feel comfortable with following along Centex’s instructions I think you would love it. I don’t want to speak for Centex, but as incredibly generous as he’s been on this forum I’m sure he would be willing to give you some advice on how to do it. The mod is detailed in Post #31 of this thread: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...ons-21430.html)

Walls in dinette area: Yes. They are plenty sturdy enough to lean against without being reinforced.

Passenger side rear hatch: We have two lithium batteries under a standard bench on that side. Escape installed those batteries in separate battery boxes. With the two battery boxes and the inverter, there isn’t much room left under that bench for storage. I’ve thought about getting rid of those battery boxes and rigging a smaller frame to keep the batteries in place, but I’m not sure there would be enough room for a grill there even if I did that. Our trailer is parked in a storage lot about 10 minutes away (near AJ Jolly Park south of Alexandria, Kentucky if you’re familiar). If you’d like, I could run over there and take some measurements. Just let me know. Also, FYI, we don’t have a rear hatch on that side and we don’t miss it. We do have the rear hatch on the driver side and we use it all the time.

Window over drawer stack: We opted not to order that window and we don’t regret it. The standard window on the driver side above the bed is very large, so we just didn’t think another smaller window next to it was necessary. Others might disagree. We usually have things on that counter space anyway.

Battery vents: We ordered two lithium batteries, so we have two vents. Not sure if Escape always puts in two vents or not. Someone on this forum might help with that, or Escape could answer that for sure. As mentioned above, each of our batteries came in their own battery box. They’re fastened to the floor end-to-end lengthwise.

Hope that helps. Again, let me know if you’d like measurements around that storage area under the passenger side dinette bench and I’ll run over to the storage lot. I could snap a picture to show how the battery boxes are situated as well.

Good luck with the build sheet, it’s kind of a dizzying task but fun too. Making a trailer your own just makes it feel more like home.
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Old 02-22-2024, 04:29 AM   #4
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Grab Handle Lower:
My wife is 5'-1'ish and we thought long and hard about getting the lift kit. We chose not to for now since it is a pretty simple and low cost item to add down the road if needed. We wanted to keep the trailer a lower profile in the wind. Have not had any clearance issues so far. If you do get the lift kit the lowering the handle will help. It's a bit of a reach without the lift kit anyway.

Walls Around Dinette:
Yes. At least on the refrigerator wall. I wish we would have added the reinforced was as leaning against it seems like I could crack it if pushed too hard. We have the wall between the bath and bed, as well as by the drawer stack, and they are solid as a rock. I'm 5'-8" tall, 155 lbs and lean against the refrigerator wall "gingerly".

Passenger Side Rear Hatch:
Yes. But we have the U-Shaped. In this configuration there is a lot of room and it serves as a handy spot for those little items you want while sitting out front. Not sure on space with the standard dinette though. My guess is that the battery box would take up most of the space.

Window over Drawer Stack:
Absolutely! We love it. We don't like sitting in an enclosed box. It adds a feeling of openness to the interior and an added spot for airflow. We don't watch tv and rarely when we do watch a movie (we use a laptop) we simply pull the shade down. Not a problem.

We also have the front window. Love it! You can see all the way through the trailer. We've camped in 17F weather and had no concern with it not being an insulated window. Honestly, the long wall next to the bed gets cold at those temps anyway which transmits into the mattress about a foot. I've since started carrying a long piece of reflectix for those cold nights to put between the mattress and the wall.

Two Batteries:
We have two 6 Volt batteries in one box and a single solar panel on the roof. There are two vents on the rear of the trailer. Not sure if they have a box to fit two 12 volt batteries.
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Old 02-22-2024, 12:43 PM   #5
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2021 E19 with 2 5/8Ē lift from ETI. I had them not install the handle. I used marine rail hardware and did this:

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...e-21759-4.html

Padawanís Life thread post #64.
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Old 02-22-2024, 06:25 PM   #6
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2021 E19 with 2 5/8Ē lift from ETI. I had them not install the handle. I used marine rail hardware and did this:
Very nice mod, Randy. Yet another grab handle mod I envy. Wish weíd done that.
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Old 02-22-2024, 06:41 PM   #7
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Reading WillyBís response to your dinette wall question, I should have mentioned in our reply that we have the Contemporary interior. Seeing that WillyB has Oak and youíve chosen Maple, maybe your divider walls are more similar to WillyBís than ours. It surprises me to hear the Oak dinette walls are less sturdy than our Contemporary walls. Go figure.
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Old 02-22-2024, 06:52 PM   #8
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Very nice mod, Randy. Yet another grab handle mod I envy. Wish weíd done that.
You still can
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:07 PM   #9
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You still can
My problem with doing that mod now would be the holes left on the exterior after removing the standard grab handle we have. I suppose those holes could be patched, but I highly doubt I have the fiberglass skills to pull that off. I sure do like the looks of Centexís and your handles though.
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:21 PM   #10
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Small holes, Marine Tex. Probably would not be very noticeable, or a thickened resin fill and just experiment until you get the gelcoat the color you like. Or Magic Ezy. Iím not great matching gelcoat either, but some have reported older Escapes get a good match with Krylon Fusion dover white, and some newer gelcoat Escapes can use Krylon Fusion ivory or Rustoleum Ivory Bisque. Of these, Iíve only tried Snow White MagicEzy on my boat for a few small spots. Perfection may be hard, but really close isnít.
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:37 PM   #11
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Small holes, Marine Tex. Probably would not be very noticeable, or a thickened resin fill and just experiment until you get the gelcoat the color you like. Or Magic Ezy. Iím not great matching gelcoat either, but some have reported older Escapes get a good match with Krylon Fusion dover white, and some newer gelcoat Escapes can use Krylon Fusion ivory or Rustoleum Ivory Bisque. Of these, Iíve only tried Snow White MagicEzy on my boat for a few small spots. Perfection may be hard, but really close isnít.
Hmm, serious food for thought. Thank you, Randy!

For Craig, now is the time to decide if you want to go this route. Itís a lot easier now than after the standard handle is put on.
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:56 PM   #12
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Iíll get some paint and make some strips on a window cur our from my trailer. That will give others and I an idea of how close these are.
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Old 02-22-2024, 09:16 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the replies, and please keep them coming! :-)
I did look over the handle mod...looks a bit daunting but maybe that's just me. I still have memories of my first car...needed to change out the thermostat. Easy 10 minute job, right? Well, the previous owner had replaced it as well and then used permanent lock-tite on the aluminum bolts. You can guess what those bolts did...turned into an all day job! Things like that have made me a bit gun shy modding things...especially things that cost upwards of 50k! (Inside I'm fine...any goofs would likely be cosmetic.)


Thank you for your offer Yakrv, but I think I'll just stick with the lowered handle. Easy and safe :-) .


I think I'm getting my build list dialed in, mainly have to decide now if I want solar with compressor fridge or just a port for my suitcase solar in which case I'd use the standard fridge.


Thank you everyone for the advice and mod ideas!
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Old 02-22-2024, 09:18 PM   #14
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Lift kit: Wasn't installed on ours; haven't noticed a problem on rough roads.

Wall strength: The only leaning I do is in the corner of the U-dinette, and I use a fat pillow. Haven't noticed any weakness.

Hatches: More are better. I use rear hatches (left and right) for trailering stuff (power cables on driver side, with torque wrench, lift block; potable-water hoses on passenger side—some electrical boxes there, but still lots of room).

Batteries: Our two are in a box under the back of the U-dinette. Only one vent; why would you need two? Other electrical stuff (inverter) is under that bench as well.

Our 21C (bought used) has no window over the short 'drawer stack'; I'd order one, and in front, too (none in ours), as I like light, and the tinted windows make the trailer too dark as it is. Look at some others if you get the chance.
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Old 02-22-2024, 09:49 PM   #15
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Thank you everyone for the advice and mod ideas!
Youíre welcome, Craig. Sounds like youíre getting close to finishing that build sheet. Just remember, you might not get everything absolutely perfect but itíll all work out. I know youíll end up with an Escape trailer youíll love.
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Old 02-22-2024, 10:45 PM   #16
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When I ordered my 21NE I choose to have all the wall to be reinforced, that way if I wanted to mount anything I would have no problem dealing with a hollow wall.
The reinforcement is done with 3/4" plywood placed between the studs in. Yes it does add some weight to the trailer, but the benefits far out weigh the difference. Much stronger frame work.

Check out the thread here in modifications and alterations that I started the other night. (My Escape to Margaritaville) I'll be adding all mods that I've done with as many photos as possible. All comments are welcome. Credit goes to the many ideas from many of the members here and some of my very own.


Hey!!! we are all in this together to help and lend a hand to each other.


I am enjoying My 21NE dubbed "Escape to Margaritaville".


Cheers to ya...... and Happy Trails...... Jack
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Old 02-23-2024, 05:00 AM   #17
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Reading WillyB’s response to your dinette wall question, I should have mentioned in our reply that we have the Contemporary interior. Seeing that WillyB has Oak and you’ve chosen Maple, maybe your divider walls are more similar to WillyB’s than ours. It surprises me to hear the Oak dinette walls are less sturdy than our Contemporary walls. Go figure.
I would not call the refrigerator wall flimsy but it is really, like all Escapes, nothing more than a thin sheet of luan plywood with some 1x1 backing cross supports. I'm sure it's fine but to me, you can feel the "squish" of the luan where there is no backing support.

As a comparison, the large reinforced wall between the bed and bath is rock solid like a table top because it is luan plywood + 3/4" plywood panel backing.
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Old 02-23-2024, 05:03 AM   #18
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Here is a photo of the refrigerator wall during construction.
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Old 02-23-2024, 09:48 AM   #19
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Escape sent use this video our of 21C before we picked in up in Sumas, WA. Like you, most likely, we spent way too much time deciding on what we wanted.

Good Luck!

Maybe this will help you visualize the space.
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Old 02-23-2024, 03:23 PM   #20
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Thank you all again for your continued help, video, photos and advice. It's been helpful. I think I've worked out my build sheet...will give it a day or so to gel in my head before I submit. Here's what I think I'll go with:
-- solar ready, standard battery (can upgrade batteries and add panel in the future should I decide I need them, in the interim I can use my existing 150 watt suitcase panel
-- amber porch light
-- move microwave ready cabinet to below cooktop (standard spot is too tall for my wife :-) )
-- add 12v outlet to outside passenger rear (mainly for powering astro imaging equipment)
-- 120v outlet on bed corner (for heated mattress pad, thanks to the forums for that idea!)
-- 120v outlet at head of bed passenger side (may put a tv on that wall someday)
-- 120v outlet by door (for any appliances that may rest on counter extension there)
-- counter extensions by door and off of drawer stack at foot of bed
-- framed window in bathroom (for ventilation and light)
-- removable power cord
-- lowered door handle (make it easier for my wife, especially if I decide to add lift kit in future)
-- rear access panels to area below dinette, both sides (for storage and to make it easier to work on in the event of future electrical mods)
-- driver side outside shower (we use this quite a bit on our current camper for rinsing my wife's fishing gear and for filling water jugs, etc).
-- sand pads....I only save a few bucks over buying from amazon and installing myself, so may as well let ETI do it!
-- dometic AC (yes it's loud, but so is the one in our present camper and it's never bothered us)
-- 2 way water heater
-- 4 captains lights in dinette (for the usb ports as well as some additional lighting, will likely change out the bulbs to some color changing, dimmable bulbs I saw online...would make for decent night lights or movie night lighting)
-- reinforced walls for bed/shower & above drawer stack, decided if the walls by dinette need to be reinforced I could add some reinforcement there myself that would spread the load to the outer reinforcement strips
-- standard dinette with pedestal mount
-- kitchen backsplash
-- cable outlet (in case I ever stay at a private campground with cable or decide to set up an outdoor tv antenna on a tripod...will likely never use it, but at least I have the option)

This gets the build in only slightly over budget (about $900 over after allowing for delivery, taxes, etc). Some compromises were made, but I can live with them. The options I left out I could always add at a later date myself. If I'd put in everything I initially had in mind the build came in more than 6k over budget LOL.

Still might change my mind and add the solar plus compressor fridge though......LOL
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